If you’re reading this site, you probably have some opinions on which numbers are and aren’t suitable for different positions. Opinions vary, based on national cultures, and individual clubs’ and players’ idiosyncratic numbering, but there’s broad agreement about positional numbering. Some of us are more liberal than others, but while not everyone would agree that number 3 absolutely has to be a left-back, most would agree that it looks wrong on the right-wing.
But while 1-11 numbering provides a solid structure, having evolved with the tactical changes since the introduction of numbering, the higher numbers don’t have the weight of history behind them, and so allow for much more variation. Most of us, when numbering our squads in football manager, know who should be number 9, but number 20? It could be anyone.
Squad numbers have been with us for nearly 30 years at club level – and longer at international tournaments, and in that time some systems have emerged, but are by no means universal. Of course, many players have made higher numbers their own, and that has led to positional association, and certain clubs and countries have their own rules.
Without a definitive answer, we at MoJ are wondering: what do you think? For each number from 12-40, we’re asking you to vote on which position is the most appropriate. Obviously higher numbers exist – if you have a particular view on any others, let us know in the comments. Also, please note that the kits shown are entirely for illustrative purposes – they’re all outfield shirts rather than trying to influence voters by putting in goalkeepers at various junctures.